D&D Encounters Field Reports (Week 2)

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Use this thread to discuss your experiences with week 1 (Encounter 1-2) of D&D Keep on the Borderlands

Please realise that both players and DMs read these threads, so do not put spoilers in your posts. If your post goes into enough details, then you absolutely must use spoilers. Enclose the spoilery bit in [*sblock=spoiler stuff][*/sblock]  (just remove the *) spoiler block tags so that players who haven't played yet don't have the surprise ruined for them. 

[*sblock=spoilerey stuff]

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will produce

spoilerey stuff


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once you remove the *.


WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

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I wish our Encounters DM didn't enjoy making things difficult... I was the only defender in our group, the pre-gen knight.
Today's game
Played Encounters today. We were at an inn talking to our employer as it was raining and approaching evening outside. A little while after he left we noticed that a halfling was watching our party a bit too closely, and when one of our party approached him, he bolted out the door. Naturally the party decided to follow him, though I decided to stay behind just in case it was a ruse, however I said that I was watching them from the door as they took off down the street. 100ft from the inn the halfling yelled out 'They're on to us!' Commence rolling for initiative. When it was our mage's turn he cast Ghost Sound yelling my name 50ft from him in my direction and then cast Light on the 10 foot fountain beside them creating a pool of light that was 20ft in each direction. Did I see this light or hear my name yelled? Nope. I apparently wasn't watching them chase after the halfling. It was either follow the halfling, or stay inside the inn. Absolutely no other option. The turn before the halfling and the other remaining thug decided to run, didn't even give us a chance to follow or our thief a chance to shoot them full of arrows(Cause they live in that town and we just got there.), I was able to join cause I was wondering what was taking them so long to return. My one turn: Double move 50ft to stand next to an enemy. That was it. The extent of my game today was me moving and granting flanking.
In hindsight I should have charged the last 5 squares.
 
Spoilers!
Started the session off with returning Brody to his patron.  The player playing the other cleric was late and didn't show up until we were all done, sadly, but we did well with only four players.

To try and somewhat disguise his return to the Keep, I wrapped him up in my cloak.  My halfling-sized cloak...  Still, with a good Stealth check, we all managed to make it back in without any incident (mainly any minions of the bad guy seeing us.)  We celebrated the successful retrieval of Brody at the local tavern with our monk patron, and that's when I spotted another halfling looking over us.  I attempted to sneak up on him in the bar, intending to place one of my daggers to his back and ask him his business in spying on us.  I sadly rolled horrible on my Stealth check and he runs out of the tavern as fast as he can.

The others and I race after him and hear him screaming that we were on to him.  Out comes the hired thugs...  On my turn, I ignore them and race for the other halfling, who's turn has yet to come.  I get within 20 feet and hit him hard with my now-trademark Sneak Attack/Backstab combo with my crossbow.  I rolled pretty high and bloody him right off the bat.

Then the mooks decide to get involve.  The ones with the maces daze the fighter while the mage kills three of the minions in one round with a spell and another round of the same spell thanks to an action point.

Rounds later and after the "Line of Power" that involved me flanking one of the mace-wielders while being flanked by him and the other one, the fighter manages to kill the other halfling.  The others do the rest of the killing in the final rounds with me just wearing them down slightly.

Finally, it's just us four against a pretty much uninjured mace-guy.  The cleric and the fighter head towards him and basically corner him against a building.  It's now my turn and I simply reload my hand crossbow and aim it at him from across the square.  I ask him to surrender and the DM asks for an Intimidate roll.  I roll high and the battle's over.


Before the game however, I took the time to shop around my FLGS with my $10 gift certificate that I won at their 10th Birthday Party a few weeks previously.  In their used section, I found the original Keep on the Borderlands module as well as Vecna Lives, both for $5.  The DM saw me with the original module and wanted to look through it for a while.  I let him and then bought both modules.

I only wish I had enough money to get all the classic modules they had...
I have a question on how the battle was supposed to go.  Our DM ruled that because none of our passive perception was high enough (19 not high enough?)  that the bad guys automatically get a surprise round and because he critted his initiative roll he went immediately after.  We argued that it should be an active check but to no avail.  I too critted my initiative but my bonus wasn't as high as theirs.  Needless to say I was unconscious and the wizard was unconscious before we even had a turn.  They had us surrounded and just came in and kept pounding.  Can you believe I critted again on my death save!  Our DM wasn't too happy, too bad.  The cleric concentrated on the wizard and healed him enough that he was able to thin the bad guys out pretty good.  I was the charging fighter so I second winded stood up and charged drawing an OA.  The bad guy missed but my two crits were catching up to me and I rolled low so I missed the main bad guy.  I was then knocked unconscious again and ended up failing three death saving throws (no more 20's) and died.  While I was dying the rest of my party managed to mop up, though.  I understand that's how it goes and I'm alright with my bad rolls but that initial ruling felt wrong.  Is that how the adventure is set up?  I think if that's the case everyone would have had a surprise round, which is entirely possible.  It really wasn't a hard encounter it was just the combination of my bad rolls and the DM's good ones that did me in.  Oh, a couple more questions... Now that I'm dead, they said that "the game brings me back" for next week but I have a -1 to all my to hits.  Do I come back at full health and hit points or just a healing surge because we haven't even had time for a short rest?
Austino's LFR CHARACTERS Ander Darkfoot - 12 - Halfling - Rogue/Daggermaster Miget Lii - 12 - Dragonborn - Paladin/Champion of Order Belfire Ogrecrush - 13 - Dwarf - Weaponmaster/Dreadnaught Dragonheart - 5 - Dragonborn - Sorcerer Shadowflame - 4 - Drow - Assassin Big Daddy - 3 - Goliath - Barbarian Utua - 4 - Shardmind - Artificer Terminator - 1 - Warforged - Barbarian Bladyis - 4 - Elven - Ranger
Snipped bloodbath



Your DM do know that you only get one action on surprise round, right? The enemies got surprise round at our table too, but not a lot of them had to move in melee first.
Well at my table we had a blast, it started off with some good roleplaying at they talked things over with Benwick in the Stumbling Giant, I managed to drop some rumors on them from the original Keep on the Borderlands and that seemed to go down well with them.  None of them spotted the Halfling until Napoleon (our renamed halfling thief) ran into him while looking for other halflings.  The halfling fled immediately and then the party went out to go to the Inn to sleep the day's exhaustion off.

Surprised by the waiting goons, the PC's were attacked.  I'd been playing since week 1 with the guards confiscating weapons, but the players had wisely decided to share Napoleon's daggers.  The battle was a tense little brawl as the party didn't have their mage, but the soldier, thief, slayer and warpriest made sure that the goons had a fight on their hands.  Due to the popularity of the rule I allowed the use of the reckless breakage rule by PC's at the table (I'm limiting it to once per season for a non-Dark Sun game) and was surprised by three PC's managing to break their "loaner" weapons on their attackers.  There was an amusing moment where the knight broke his dagger while missing one of the minions, but managed to turn it into a hit with the broken dagger to the side of the head.

Even at a considerable disadvantage, the PC's won the day forcing the halfling to surrender as they proceeded to make themselves scarce at the sound of Keep guards approaching.

I awarded them extra XP for taking a much tougher fight, but they said they really enjoyed the tension from the combat.
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In addition to what FortMan said, it sounds like your DM was also lazy and just having all of his guys go at the same time. That severely weights battles in one direction or another depending on that one roll. However, ruling that you could only use passive perception is correct unless one of you stated that you're looking around for an ambush before the ambush trigger happened. That's what passive perception is for.

What FortMan and Airtask said your DM was either vicious, unlearned or lazy....Having said that I roll initiative for groups of monsters.   For instance once for Kobold slingers, Once for the Dragonshields Once for the guard drakes and once for the minions instead of for every individual. 

FYI one of our group had a 19 passive perception and spotted the ambush I dont think our DM fudged it so Im guessing your DM "Raised the bar".  

Also TM why did the guards take your groups weapons away??

I'm second from the left in the picture.


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I saw a DM take weapons away... something about them not being allowed in town, but I didn't see anything in the encounter to support that so I let my players keep theirs.

We had some nice RP in the beginning and a fun time partying in the tavern before heading into the ambush.  The fight was well balanced, one character went down but made most of his death saves and the rest fought it out very well and was finally able to get over to him and make the heal check.

I think our highlight was after the fight though... during some more rp one of the PCs, a girl playing Eldeth, decided her PC was a lesbian and hit on the "human female" after the fight.  I rolled a 20 for the reaction and so they got all cuddly with each other, I'm sure it will lead to something horrible though, hahaha. =)

My opinions are just that, my opinions. They are educated opinions however, I've been gaming since 1978 starting with the first D&D Red Box. Each version has brought something new and different to the game and IMO D&D has evolved to a fantastic state with 5th edition! It has the best of everything I loved from the past editions.

The DM taking away all weapons but daggers is doing that based on the intial description of the Keep in the Dungeon magazine....

However, the author has said in the thread above that he does not recommend you do that, hence it was not written into Encounters.


For the 3 tables we ran this week, no fatalities, some down and bleeding to death though.  The uniform issue that I have noticed across tables it the rapid dwindling of healing surges.  I have not been out to kill the players, but to ensure all have a good time and even with that, the Knight is down to 3 surges left.  One of the other tables has a player with only 1 surge left.
We had three tables at the store where I play Encounters.  Lots of new players, and it was really fun.  

For reference, I made the changes to the encounter that I discussed on the other thread here.

Summary

We spent the first hour of our game getting Gordi back to Benwick, then discussing plans with Benwick.  I consider player understanding of the three main factions (Benwick's order, the Erathis-favoring government, and the cult of Tiamat) to be important for understanding what's going on in the adventure, so I spent a little while explaining that to the new players.  I'm pretty sure that a couple of the players have read the DDI article, but they've been keeping quiet about Benwick, thankfully

I focused the conversation with Benwick on him appearing remorseful about Gordi's fate.  The idea here is to make Benwick look well-intentioned and genuinely caring for the community in general and his agents in particular.  I also suggested that Gordi is a relatively young kid who couldn't handle himself, and when the players latched onto that and started criticizing Benwick to his face about sending a vulnerable kid into a dangerous situation, this was the perfect opportunity for Benwick to look just a little bit incompetent and thus allay possible suspicions of his intentions.  It was cool.

As for the encounter, none of the PCs had the requisite passive Insight to catch the eavesdropping halfling, so roughly half the party was surprising when the fight broke out.  The presence of massive numbers of civilians (I dropped something like two dozen bottlecaps on the battlemat to represent them) complicated matters for them because the attackers were hiding among them, but it was greatit allowed me to let the flow of the battle determine which civilians were actually attackers, which ratcheted up tension.  Also, my rule on slip and sliding came up more often than I thought it would - mostly because people kept rolling natural 1s on attack rolls and falling prone.  The slipping around also messed with the monsters' tactics, while making the halfling more badass because he was succeeding in his acrobatics checks to move through them.  

The monsters were great - the halfling felt like a good archetypal skirmisher and harried the characters constantly (and made squeaking noises when he got garroted by the assassin), and even though I couldn't for the life of me hit with dazing strike the bandits were good.  The minions survived for a while by staying hidden in the crowd until a PC walked past them, allowing them to easily slip into a flanking position.   

I bloodied all of the PCs except Berrian the wizard (who promptly teleported to the top of one of the buildings) and Quinn the fighter (I rolled a 19 vs his AC of 20 something like 5 times), and the assassin came very very close to death (failed two death saves) after being cornered after garroting the halfling.

All in all, a very fun session (though we ran a little long), and we ended on the cliffhanger of Sal running in to warn the party about Ronnik's bank being on fire. 



What FortMan and Airtask said your DM was either vicious, unlearned or lazy....Having said that I roll initiative for groups of monsters.   For instance once for Kobold slingers, Once for the Dragonshields Once for the guard drakes and once for the minions instead of for every individual. 

FYI one of our group had a 19 passive perception and spotted the ambush I dont think our DM fudged it so Im guessing your DM "Raised the bar".  

Also TM why did the guards take your groups weapons away??



My DM also did the lazy thing and rolled almost all the monsters together. My character went from 30 P to 5 HP before he got to act with an 18 initiative. The slayer had gotten 20.

Thing was none of the other people were roleplaying much so I did the only thing I could to get the party started and feel I was punished for it (no stealth checks to hide allowed sneaking through town - jumped without warning).

When I DM myself I roll all but the minions separately, and them in groups of 4.  Lately though I've taken to rolling even individual minions out separately because in Paragon tier they start to become overpowered if ran in clumps (like archer minions that can daze at-will if they hit).
The table I ran was on the razor's edge of a TPK. Cleric, Wizard, Thief, and Fighter.

The cleric entered combat seperated from the main group since he had escorted Benwick back to his apartment.

The thief ended up surrounded, down, and bleeding out by the end of the first round. The cleric had three bad guys trapping him on the edge of the map and so used most of his healing spells on himself. The wizard went down in round three or four, by which time the cleric made it close enough to raise the thief.

They all made it out the other side, but they were all bloodied at the end of the fight and the wizard has no healing surges.

They loved it though, and they really like the role playing and general story of the this adventure.
I was waiting for yellerSumner to post a recap since she took such copious notes last night, but the evening started out the best yet in all the encounters sessions when as we were partaking of a free meal with Benwick and she burst out (being the thief) "I check my poison for food!".  The evening continued on a light note when the knight was using his hammer in his hammer hand stance.  The DM said he needed to say "Stop! Hammertime!" in order to hit.  He did not and subsequently missed.  The next round he did say it and hit.  We also got to witness his dancing skills including his rendition of "The Carlton".  It was probably one of th emost enjoyable encounters sessions I have attended.
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I was a bit disappointed with my group on Wednesday as the role playing that went so well in week 1 seemed to die away. I think next week I am going to dish out a 15XP bonus to the first person that role plays, which will hopefully get others involved. Besides that, things went well.


Our cleric noticed a halfling who was a bit more interested in the conversation than he should have been, so the cleric and two others decided to follow him out into the streets while the rest stayed behind to enjoy a nice dinner and a free healing surge.


Our group of three was ambushed by the halfling, and based on a suggestion from the boards, they also encountered a street full of civilians, a few of which turned out to be goons and bandits. Unfortunately, only the cleric had the incite to figure out which were actually civilians and who were the enemies, the other PC’s had to find out the hard way.


Merric high tailed it back to the inn to get reinforcements, which left Hagen and Berrian to fend off everyone until the rest of the party survived. Beguiling strands, which proved very beneficial in encounter 1, was too risky to use with all of the townsfolk milling around. Once the townsfolk realized what was going on, they started to flee, but it took a total of three rounds for them to all leave, and sadly one died at the hands of the Halfling Thief. This will bring consequences and being investigated in a later encounter.


In the end, the PC’s worked well together. They are still having trouble with focus fire, but I am hoping in a few weeks we can get it straightened out. A few of the bandits and goons ran as soon as they saw they were losing the fight. The PC’s looted the bodies, but nothing was supposed to be on them, so I quickly added a ring of Tiamet on the thief, just to drive the point further. When Sal emerged, the PC’s instantly remembered what she looked like from Benwick’s description, but right when they started to question her, they noticed huge billows of black smoke pouring out of a building. I asked everyone what their next action was, and then called it a night before they were resolved.

Ill post a players perspective of enc 1-2 since folks may still be doing make up sessions Ill spoiler it.
Venue Uncle's Games Seattle Table of 6.  1 dwarf knight Dulen of Hammerfast, one dwarf slayer Ephada, 1 (ahem) human slayer Shaughn Volker who looks rather half orcish (for when HoFK comes out, 1 dwarf battlepriest Ragnar, 1 halfling thief and 1 elf mage.

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When we returned from the cave carrying Gordy we did as he asked covering his face with a hooded cloak and taking him straight to frye Beniwk's place. There Benwick and Ragnar worked togather to try and save Gordy.  Benwick insisted we all go for dinner at the Stumbling Giant but Dulen felt uncomfortable spilting the party when the posibility of the evil plotters (Ronick) trying to finish off Gordy or our patron exsisted, thus we waited outside Benwicks place until Benwick and Ragnar were able to accompany us to the tavern.

 At the tavern while Gordy explained he had an inside contact named Sal and how to recognize here. One of our party noticed a halfling nerdowell trying to listen in on the converstain. We tried to distract him after benwick left so our halfling nerdowell could try and case him. He noticed us and bolted for the door.

  We followed where he led us in to an ambush but we were able to notice some of the thugs lurking about and thus were not suprised.  The halfling shouted to his bully boys to kill us and the fun insued.  Things went very poorly almost immediatly for the ruffians. A couple of minions went down and them Ephada swung his great axe a mighty blow and killed one of the human non minions from full health (crits from a slayer with a great axe really can hurt he did 37 out of a possible 43 damage with the strike). The survivning minions went with some mixed results and our mage replieds being able to get all of the remaining minions and one of the bandits in the area of a beguiling strands the mage only missed one minion shoving the bandit into another time zone. One the next round as soon as we had dispatched the halfing, knocking it unconcious, finishing off the last minion, knocking out one of the remaining bandits the last to took off for greener pastures.

  As the city guard arrived we convinced them to let us ask some questions of the halfling before they took him in.   He was quite plucky fearing the guards not at all but wary of running into us again made a deal. He tells us what he knows and after he escapes from jail we dont come after him and he doesnt come after us.  We agreed and he explained Ronick wanted us taken out of the equation.  While we had heard Ronick hasnt been seen in days he says he saw him earlier that day.

  As soon as the city guards left with the surviving thugs a figure emerged from the shadows and it was Sal.  She told us Ronick was back in his bank and we should wait for things to quite down to break in and have a talk to him....This illegal activity made several of our party quite uncomfortable, luckly smoke started pouring out of the windows of the bank and the lawful good members of our party begain to gleefully call for the city watch and fire brigade.

During the fight only our thief  and Ephada took any significant damage both being bloodied at one time or another. FYI during enc 1-1 only the knight took any major hits, being knocked unconcious buy the ring of monsters surrounding him. So over all we are doing well on Surge expenditures so far.


Great job to our DM Joe for making the roleplaying very lively.
I'm second from the left in the picture.


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Between my cold dice, the Knight's AC and a fairly well organized party, the monsters didn't really stand much of a chance. We've only got two pregens, Merric and Eldeth. The homemade Eladrin mage has Hypnotism, and used it to great effect, triggering many OAs from the Knight. I did manage to put the Knight down into unconsciousness once, but that really came from a late critical roll from a thug with flanking.
We found the encounter very easy; I think only one character lost more than 5 HP and the majority weren't even hit. Perhaps because we had six players? We were also for the most part rolling very well. It was a very quick session.

The enemy wasn't men, or women, or the old, or even the dead. It was just bleedin' stupid people, who came in all varieties. And no one had the right to be stupid. - Terry Pratchett Doraleous & Associates : I'll let it speak for itself johnkretzer gave me a . It was chocolate chip and very sweet. Silversword also gave me a . That one was peanut butter!
...yellerSumner ... burst out (being the thief)

I am not a thief. I have not stolen anything. Yet.

Would've been up sooner but I was delayed by a combination of multitasking and internet problems.

Moment of Greatness: "I check my poison for food."

Our fighter's girlfriend returned but she might not be able to make it back after this since she just got a new job.
A new person showed up. He brought his own Rogue (Ambush and Thug tricks), but I wasn't able to catch his race.
Our regular who couldn't make it last week was able to show up this time. He played Merric.

This gave us a total of 8 players. Our DM upped the encounter difficulty as our other choice was to split into tables of 4 and 3.

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We returned to the keep with the rain pooring down. Hagen, while still unable to heal Gordi, was able to do enough so he could move better. Gordi suggested we hide him when we entered the keep because the guards might not want to let someone sick into the keep. Merric and the new Rogue did a great job of disguising him and so we brought him into the keep so we can be the ones responsible for the impending zombie apocalypse.

Benwick treated us to a meal, cheap ale, and told us of the spy he has within Ronnik's men. It was at this point which I checked my poison for food and gained the moment of greatness for making the whole table burst out with laughter. (I rolled an 8 and did not find any food in my poison.)

The clerics noticed a halfling hanging around, watching the group and invited him to join us. He bolted and we chased after him only to find ourselves accosted by thugs.

Merric moves to flank the tough thug who chose to challenge Quinn and knocks him down. The halfling dashes up, landing a solid blow on Hagen and makes an escape before anyone can react. Quinn warms up and gets ready to push some people around, but his first swing goes wide. The agile thieves rushed us, I think most of their attacks hit. They certainly hit Hagen who cried out as he was bloodied. Sola, next to me, took the one who had attacked her out in one hit and offered up a prayer of healing for the other cleric. If these guys were going to go down so easily, I had more important things to do with my time. On the other side of the battlefield, Berrian cast the spell that broke the mind of another one and forced the Halfling to retreat to where he'd started.

With Sola engaging the cutthroat next to us, I dodged out of the way and headed around one of the tougher looking bandits. Spinning, I jammed the end of my staff into his back where I'm sure I heard something pop. The new Rogue moved up to get a better shot at the Halfling, but it was too nimble. The thugs tried to surround him, but couldn't land a blow themselves. The one I'd stabbed in the back either didn't care or couldn't turn around to face me. Instead he stepped up and took advantage of his allies already surrounding Merric. It looked like quite a blow. The only thing Merric could do was catch his breath.

Hagen made a survey of our surroundings, but couldn't see anything thanks to our assalants surrounding him. Wisely, he moved away giving Quinn a chance to step up and take the heat, but the Halfling wasn't going to let him get away that easily and sunk a dagger into him. Sola belted out a blessing I couldn't make out over the sound of the rain, but it seemed to refresh the others. Berrian turned and focused his magics in the other direction - three more fell quickly to his spell. A mighty swing from Eldeth took out another.

The new Rogue got behind one of the thugs who hadn't been on the wrong end of our weapons yet and introduced him to one of his blades. This thug took it a bit more personally than the one I had attacked and turned to return the blow only to be cut down by Quinn before he could cause any harm.

The halfling ran around the fountain, outside the bulk of the melee, to attack Merric. Did he piss these guys off or something? Only one other thief survived and while the clerics applied a bit of healing, we began to take the fight to them.

As Eldeth reached the halfing, a blond bimbo stepped out and called for the fighting to cease. Before the thieves could surrender, I cried out "****!" as I charged at her. She was surprisingly nimble, jumping out of the way not once, but twice as I tried to knock her down. The new Rogue followed my lead (I think I like this guy) but also failed to hit her. The two thieves surrendered as the rest of our group watched with caution.

While the blond matches Benwick's description his spy, Sal, I don't trust her. It's not in spite of, but because of. If Benwick can't pay us, how can he afford someone like her on his payroll? More importantly, if Benwick can't pay us, why are we still working for him at all?

Unfortunately, the questions, as well as my plans to get Sal drunk and take her back to a room at the inn, will have to wait as a fire has broken out at the bank.


Note to self: Take less detailed notes next time.
Reporting from Chantilly VA:

Session 2


6 players tonight, the previous 5 plus one extra. Ended up with two wizards in the group for it, which was perhaps slightly irritating for me since it would have significantly shortened the lifespan of my minions in combat were it not for their terrible rolls all night lol.

RP was good. The players were really fixated on that dragonborn they brought back, but I had it whisked away to the inner bailey of the keep which is a restricted area without express permission, escort, or business with the ruler, Lord Drysdale. They completed their quest to return the prisoner and then settled in for dinner which was paid for by their taskmaster (and worth a free healing surge, or a refunded one if you were at full hp). After dinner they tried, unsuccessfully, to find out more about the dragonborn, and we all had a laugh at the barmaid's reaction to the Fighter using Diplomacy on her to try and get some information. They noticed they were being watched by a halfling but didn't really pursue the issue, much to their own chagrin as once they headed out into the rain they were ambushed.

Combat was much, much better this time.  The narrative for the scenario says it's been raining heavily, so I used that to the advantage in combat; non-adjacent creatures had partial concealment, you fall prone on a natural 1, and running (literally, just standard move speed doesn't incur this) through puddles on the map require a DC 12 Acrobatics check or you fall prone and lose the rest of your action. In hindsight, I should have made that last effect happen simply by passing through the puddle by any means that isn't instantaneous as the effect only came into application twice in the entire combat, but ah well. Only one creature rolled a 1 as well so there was no impact there, and except for the Wizards everybody rolled pretty well so the concealment was a nonissue (not to mention the Ranger is the only one who really had to worry about it anyway).

The silly wizards weren't entirely using their heads as I told everyone at the start that the rooftops on the map were valid squares and the buildings were only 20' high, making it easily possible for them to fey step up onto them and stay out of harm's way, but instead they both got bloodied through the course of the scuffle tongue.gif

The Dragonborn made his theatrical return (he appeared to have been healed, tortured heavily, and crudely healed again; he was heavily disfigured, and we had someone who could actually speak Draconic this time so they heard him swear an oath of vengeance to Tiamat for the humiliation suffered) and conveniently was the closest one to the group in the ambush. He also got to go toward the top of the round, so I made sure to get good use out of his breath attack this time. Innocent

I think combat lasted a good 4-6 rounds from top to bottom, I can't remember for sure. The dragonborn went down quick, the players having had enough of his shenanigans, and the minions were slowly picked off leaving nothing but the halfling and 3 otherwise healthy bandits. The halfling was fun with his little move-and-attack feature. It annoyed the Fighter greatly Laughing

I took advantage of the twitter buffs that have been running on the WotC twitter feed on the Encounters nights; at the start of the session I rolled a d10 and doubled up two numbers per buff from the appropriate day's entries and chose one that way, repeating this process an hour later for a different buff. It worked out well, the players liked the narrative addition (the first buff was kids in the upper windows of the buildings would throw rotten vegetables for 2 damage at anyone, player or creature, who missed an attack roll, which incidentally took out one of the minions; the second was the ale the PCs had at dinner was especially potent and granted them the ability to take a healing surge on a crit). Going forward with my own games I may try to incorporate this kind of random buff thing somehow, I like the flavor it adds.

Once it was all over there was some minor concluding RP with Sal; the players joked around about the fact that she was there the whole time but didn't actually try to help. At one point they were talking about firing on her which I would have hand-waved as her simply being too strong to take on, but thankfully they were either kidding or simply talked away from the idea. In any case, they asked a few questions of the spy about their following tasks, but were interrupted by commotion from around the corner as the bank itself was apparently on fire.

Thus the saga continues.
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Session 5 SPOILERS!!!!!!!!!
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We play on Tuesdaysat Guardian Games in Portland, Oregon.
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Perhaps it was because I attack a critical hit on a slime surprise attack, but the this one seemed to have more drama and player creativity than previous session.  I think it was the rope swings.  The encounter began with the two(!) halfling thieves scouting forward into the cavern.  One made his perception check and the other did not.  He that did not was attacked and then attacked again as I one initiative.  He was down before he even had a chance!  As the party sloshed through the waters, or swung like Tarzan as one knight did! to battle the nauseous slimes the kobold sniper was revealed, Halfling Number One was healed and shimmied up a rope but was followed so he swung across the cavern, over the battle, caught a second rope and used that to swing right over the patch of mushrooms!  There were many huzzahs!  So much so that Halfling Number Two did the same trick from his position.  
In all it was an epic fight.  The terrain offered fun and games, and the Squelching Slimes both had hit points to keep them going a few rounds and nice Push mechanic which kept the defenders shuffling around as well.  I wouldn't mind putting one of the slimes on the ceiling if I was going to run the game again.
We had six players at the table but the battle was still finished in 1.5 hrs.  I don't know about the players but I'm liking the Essentials classes.  They're faster I think.  Less of an "I play this card" vibe than sometimes happens in 4e.
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